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Thread: Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me? (Do you need to be an architect to become a planner?)

  1. #1
         
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    Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me? (Do you need to be an architect to become a planner?)

    I might sound a bit pessamistic, but why didn't anyone ever tell me that you had to be an architect to get anywhere in the world of planning? Am I going insane, or is anyone else seeing this?
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 14 Sep 2004 at 10:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I'm not an architect yet seem to be doing ok in the profession.

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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    If you are in the public sector, don't planners have tools like master plans and zoning ordinances that actually say what is permitted, which in turn means the architect has to do what you tell them? Tell us a little bit more about what you are witnessing, otherwise it is too difficult to give you any helpful insight to your questions.

    We're here to help!

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Tell me your problems....

    Quote Originally posted by louisville
    I might sound a bit pessamistic, but why didn't anyone ever tell me that you had to be an architect to get anywhere in the world of planning? Am I going insane, or is anyone else seeing this?
    Hello Louisville, I'm with the government, "I'm here to help"
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by louisville
    I might sound a bit pessamistic, but why didn't anyone ever tell me that you had to be an architect to get anywhere in the world of planning? Am I going insane, or is anyone else seeing this?
    That's the first time I've ever heard that comment. I went to college thinking I wanted to be an architect, but changed to planning.....never had any problems in my work experience.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    maudit anglais
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    I don't think being an architect would help me be a better transportation planner. Maybe if I was an engineer... Nah.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    AIB louisville -

    Q. Do you have to be an architect to get anywhere in the world of planning ?
    and has anyone else heard of this ?

    A. No, not from my experience. I have not heard that one until now.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    If you're interested in urban design then yeah, I've seen it. Urban designer jobs at private firms appeal to me but often require a background in architecture or landscape architecture.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Many Architects think they are Better-than-planners

    In my experience architects make good site planners but don't always understand the political complexities involved in the real world of planning- they tend to draw something and then not understand why it can't just be built that way.

    Architects (some, at least) also love to call themselves "architectural planners" or just "planners" as if somehow architecture is hierarchically above planning and therefore all architects are planners. I've been tempted to start calling myself a "planning architect."

    The fact is that almost anyone can learn to be a planner if they take the time to do so and are openminded- but it does take time and some commitment to learning a multifaceted trade. However, many architects, real estate developers and lawyers have thinly veiled scorn for planners because its not as clear a discipline as theirs, and that might be what you are sensing.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I've never heard of a situation like you are describing. As Seabishop said, sometimes urban designers have architecture (or landscape architecture) backgrounds... but that's a little different. I hope that you come back to clarify the issue, since I am interested in the situation.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich
    In my experience architects make good site planners but don't always understand the political complexities involved in the real world of planning- they tend to draw something and then not understand why it can't just be built that way.

    Architects (some, at least) also love to call themselves "architectural planners" or just "planners" as if somehow architecture is hierarchically above planning and therefore all architects are planners. I've been tempted to start calling myself a "planning architect."

    The fact is that almost anyone can learn to be a planner if they take the time to do so and are openminded- but it does take time and some commitment to learning a multifaceted trade. However, many architects, real estate developers and lawyers have thinly veiled scorn for planners because its not as clear a discipline as theirs, and that might be what you are sensing.
    I've been an architect for five years (well, an architectural intern, technically, since I am not licensed) and agree with the above. A lot of architects think they are automatically planners despite a lack of training in planning - as if plans were just large-scale buildings (limited to appearances and 'builderly' questions). Architects tend to think of themselves as superior to planners and especially landscape architects for some reason. (Architects think they're superior in general!) In terms of the original question, I do see a lot of urban design (physical plans of downtowns or campuses) executed by architecture firms and it probably helps to have some visual sense and architectural knowledge to do this sort of thing (which some planners probably have, though many perhaps do not). Most architects that I've encountered are rather narrow in focus, rarely have any socio-political awareness, and are clueless about some of the most substantive decisions (e.g., should this housing over here be market rate or subsidized). Part of why I want to become a planner - I am going to school for it, not just adding 'planner' to my card! - is that I would like to be involved in larger issues...right now it is rare I even have any input about site selection. (I keep getting on these jobs in awful greenfield tech park sites.) As an architect, I've always viewed planners as the superiors (in the pecking order of intellectual pursuits), but I think I am almost alone among my co-workers in that sentiment.

    Rob

  12. #12
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Wow!!!

    Thanks for the insider view, RSW.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Great! We are all planners, (most of us) then we should get to tell Architects that their buildings look horrible in the context of the surrounding properties!

    You don't have to be an architect to be a planner, and if an Architect told you this, ask him to show you the AICP and AIA behind his name. Planners need to look at a much wider spectrum of circumstances for situations. We not only need to look at how it may or may not impact a single property or area, we need to know the potential repercussions that it may or may not have on an entire community.

    I know some are both, and some just pretend to be one or the other.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Around my neck of the woods you have only 2 options... either you're an architect or you're a geographer... (Personally i'm studying the latter)

    Though most planning in cities around here is done by architects, due to a lack of geographers.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup....

    Quote Originally posted by SkeLeton
    Around my neck of the woods you have only 2 options... either you're an architect or you're a geographer... (Personally i'm studying the latter)

    Though most planning in cities around here is done by architects, due to a lack of geographers.
    It seems that most of the developing world.... (of which we are surely to become a member of again, if Kerry is not elected...ha ha ha....)(How do you like this scare tactic, granted, not as effective as Pres. Cheney, but a good effort on my part)... looks to architects and engineers instead of planners and geographers to solve their social/development problems....hence all of the problems all over the world.... snicker....snicker.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=The One]It seems that most of the developing world looks to architects and engineers instead of planners and geographers to solve their social/development problems.QUOTE]

    I think it is that legacy of Modernism and that very Western attitude of building one's way out of trouble, that we can make massive new shiny things to solve our problems. Just plop a superhighway or Chandigar down somewhere and everything will be OK. Seemingly, some planners have at least come to embrace something more along the lines of 'conservative surgery' - of studying the problem first, perhaps doing just as little as is necessary...but such gentleness is a tougher sell sometimes to the powerful.

    Rob

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RSW
    I think it is that legacy of Modernism and that very Western attitude of building one's way out of trouble, that we can make massive new shiny things to solve our problems. Just plop a superhighway or Chandigar down somewhere and everything will be OK. Seemingly, some planners have at least come to embrace something more along the lines of 'conservative surgery' - of studying the problem first, perhaps doing just as little as is necessary...but such gentleness is a tougher sell sometimes to the powerful.

    Rob
    You're my hero. I buy the first round of

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    I think that being an architect only helps if you are going to specialize in historic preservation, but then again, there are programs dedicated to h.p.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    I really think it depends on which avenue of planning you want to venture into. Yes,, architecture is great for historic preservation...but as far as site plan review...I would lean towards a landscape architect. We have a real mix at our office. Also,, we have a large environmental section...and they tend to come from environmental science and biology end of the spectrum. Around here...AICP is pretty important (NY Metro)
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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